An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide – maryholland505@gmail.com

Wood Turtles Laying Eggs

This Wood Turtle is climbing up a sandy hill in order to find a high elevation site in which to lay her eggs, one where the soil temperature is just right and where flooding is not likely to occur. 

Twice a year, in the spring and fall, Wood Turtles engage in a mating ritual that involves both turtles “dancing” with each other prior to copulating in the water.  Once mating has occurred, the female seeks out a suitable habitat in which to lay her 3-20 eggs, usually near a stream.  Once the nest cavity has been dug, the eggs laid, and the cavity filled with dirt and/or leaves, the female departs, never to provide care for her young.  The eggs hatch and the hatchlings emerge from the nest sometime between August and October.  Unlike most turtles, the sex of the hatchlings is determined genetically and not by the temperature of the eggs.

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3 responses

  1. Bill on the Hill

    Wow Mary, I had no idea that wood turtle’s eggs with respect to temps does not determine the sex of the hatchlings… In my humble opinion, the pyramidal shapes on the wood turtle’s shell are the most striking of most the turtles I’m familiar with here in New England…
    Like rings on a tree, those individual lines mark a year gone by…
    Come to think of it, the snappers have these as well, I think…
    Bill… :~)

    June 3, 2022 at 7:12 am

  2. Alice

    Looks like a good-sized female, on a sandy, uphill trudge. You do encounter a great deal of wildlife.

    June 3, 2022 at 10:52 am

  3. Are you saying that wood turtles lay eggs in the fall as well as spring??!!

    June 3, 2022 at 4:32 pm

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